My Grandma G. raised ten children, seven boys (3 sets of twin boys!) and 3 girls. She and Grandpa raised them on a carpenter's income, kept a large garden, and lived in a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house. I know those boys were trouble-makers, I've heard the stories.
My Grandma B. raised six children and several unofficial foster children. She and Grandpa had 3 boys and 3 girls (plus one daughter-in-law in this picture). She was a pastor's wife and managed to work, as well.
But I wonder if either one of my Grandma's ever felt like they were failing.
Did they ever hide in their bedroom crying?
Did they wonder if their rowdy kids heard a word they were saying?
Did they want to hide away from the NOISE somewhere?
Did they ever fear that their kids would walk out the door one day and never look back?
Did they go to bed completely exhausted and frustrated at times?
Did they hide a smile as one of their kids did something very naughty, but oh, so funny?
Did their hearts break at yet another shouted, "I hate you!"?
Were they ever completely blown away by the absolute selfishness of their children?
Were they ever shocked at the sass and rudeness that their child directed at them?
Did they have "that one child" that just drove them absolutely crazy, arguing every little point?
Did they wonder if they even mattered?
I love my grandparents so much. My grandmothers devoted themselves to their families. They baked their bread, gardened, canned, sewed, and made the best with what they had.
I respect my grandfathers for supporting their large families, for teaching their kids right from wrong, for loving my grandmothers. I miss them. Only Grandma B. (above) is still living.
I just wish I knew how they felt on their best days, and their worst days, as mothers and fathers.
And on those really bad days, where did they find encouragement?
How did they feel when their children scattered across the globe, took on dangerous careers, made choices they might not have approved of, had grandchildren they couldn't hold very often?
I am sure it drove them to their knees in prayer. As it should me.
At least they all survived with their sanity and senses of humor intact. I can take hope in that, and follow their example as best I can.
One day at a time. One prayer at a time.